REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Codexis, Inc., announced
today that it has appointed Dr. Arnold Demain to its Industrial Advisory
Board. Dr. Demain will advise the company in developing novel and dramatically
more efficient fermentation based processes for natural product based
pharmaceutical active ingredients using Codexis' proprietary
MolecularBreeding(TM) and Whole Genome Shuffling technologies.
Dr. Demain has been in the forefront of industrial microbiology and
biotechnology for over four decades and has been involved in the research and
commercialization of a number of fermentation based pharmaceutical processes.
He is currently a Fellow at Drew University's Charles A. Dana Institute for
Scientists Emeriti. Previously, Dr. Demain was at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT) for 32 years, where he most recently served as Professor
of Industrial Microbiology in the Department of Biology. Before going to MIT,
Dr. Demain spent fifteen years at Merck & Co., where he held various positions
in R&D and management focused on fermentation microbiology. He founded the
Fermentation Microbiology Department at Merck and directed research and
development for several products, including monosodium glutamate, vitamin B12,
streptomycin, riboflavin, cephamycin, fosfomycin and interferon inducers. In
1969, he joined MIT, where he set up the Fermentation Microbiology Laboratory.
Since then, he has published extensively on enzyme fermentation, biosynthesis
of beta-lactam antibiotics and other secondary metabolites, vitamins,
mycotoxins, mutational biosynthesis, bioconversions and metabolic regulation
of primary and secondary metabolism. His leadership in the area of
fermentation is evidenced by over 470 publications, 10 books of which he is
coeditor or coauthor, 20 U.S. patents and his election to the presidency of
the Society for Industrial Microbiology in 1990, membership in the National
Academy of Sciences in 1994, the Mexican Academy of Sciences in 1997 and the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2001.
Codexis' Industrial Advisory Board is comprised of recognized world
leaders from leading pharmaceutical and fine chemical companies and academia
having broad business and scientific experience. Dr. Demain will work
alongside its other members: Dr. David Dodds, Dr. Ian Fotheringham,
Dr. Peter Pollak and Dr. Roger Sheldon.
"Arny's addition to our Industrial Advisory Board highlights Codexis'
commitment to utilizing our proprietary MolecularBreeding(TM) and Whole Genome
Shuffling technologies to significantly improve fermentation processes for
high-value natural product based pharmaceuticals," stated Alan Shaw, President
and Chief Executive Officer of Codexis. "Codexis has an established track
record of improving fermentation based pharmaceutical processes. In addition
to our recently announced partnership with Lilly in the area of Whole Genome
Shuffling, we have successfully implemented our MolecularBreeding(TM)
technologies for fermentation processes currently being employed at commercial
scale by DSM and Pfizer. Our Whole Genome Shuffling platform has the potential
to revolutionize strain development for natural product and semisynthetic
drugs, including antibiotics, anticholesterolemics and immunosuppressants.
Together these product categories represent over $50 billion in annual
formulated drug sales and are key targets for Codexis. Outside the
pharmaceutical area, the Whole Genome Shuffling platform can help enable
fermentation processes for a wide range of biologically-based chemicals,
monomers, flavors and fragrances and biomass-derived fuels for alternative
energy production and sustainable development."
"Often in fermentation-based syntheses, critical process characteristics
like productivity, yield and minimization of byproducts are controlled by
extremely complex metabolic mechanisms within the production microorganism,"
said John Grate, Vice President of R&D and Chief Technology Officer. "The
classical approach to fermentation strain improvement involves random
mutations and massive screening for stepwise improvements. More recently
developed genetic engineering approaches involve performing fundamental
research to understand the complex mechanisms. Both of these strategies are
laborious, costly and time consuming. In contrast, Codexis' Whole Genome
Shuffling utilizes a strategy based on naturally occurring processes to
rapidly evolve fermentation strains without requiring any knowledge of the
underlying biological mechanism or the use of genetic engineering protocols.
The end result is an improved strain which can produce a greater amount of
product in a shorter period of time with less unwanted by-products."
Codexis, Inc. is a provider of biocatalysis and fermentation processes and
products to the life science and fine chemical industries. Codexis'
proprietary MolecularBreeding(TM) directed molecular evolution technologies
allow for the rapid discovery and development of improved or novel processes
for the efficient and cost-effective synthesis of valuable chemicals utilizing
breakthrough biocatalysts and production strains. Codexis provides its
customers with R&D services, proprietary biocatalysts and fermentation
strains, processes, synthetic and natural products. Codexis has eight
strategic alliances in the chemicals field, and over 24 potential products and
processes in its R&D pipeline, with seven product candidates in development,
including three processes now operating at commercial scale, with two
generating royalty payments. The company is a majority owned subsidiary of
Maxygen that commenced operations as an independent company in October of
SOURCE Codexis, Inc.